Displaying articles written by

Mister Raroo

who has written 19 posts for Gamesugar.

Review – Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax

Review Half-Minute Hero Super Mega Neo Climax
“Are other RPGs going to seem too slow after playing this?”

My wife posed this question as she watched me play (deep breath) Half-Minute Hero: Super Mega Neo Climax (okay, just typing that takes half a minute, so we’ll shorten it to HMH). Also, her question was definitely valid.

At first glance HMH seems like a typical Japanese RPG. It successfully incorporates all the genre’s staples – namely it takes place in a colorful fantasy world, there’s an impending apocalypse, you play as a humble hero entrusted with saving the world, you level up via random battles, you visit towns and villages to purchase items and upgrades, you can embark on optional side-quests, and more –only it speeds them up to the point that sometimes you’ll feel like you’re watching a time-lapse video of someone playing Dragon Quest.

In other words, it’s like playing an RPG on speed. Well, okay, I don’t use drugs, but I imagine the pace of HMH is akin to seeing the world through the eyes of some junkie on a street corner who pictures himself to be a Native American hunting buffalo as he throws Styrofoam cups at passing cars. It’s no wonder the lovely Missus Raroo worried that other RPGs would be tough to play after HMH.

Just for kicks, I powered up my Nintendo DS to see if Dragon Quest VI would feel sluggish. Thankfully, it didn’t take too long to transition from the lightning speed pace of HMH to the more humble tempo of Dragon Quest, though I will admit that I kept thinking “Hurry up! Don’t waste time! Just run forward into those monsters and move on to the next battle!”

You’d think that this would suggest RPGs have indeed been ruined for me, but by the power of foreshadowing I’ll just say that HMH may not be what it initially appears to be…

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E3 2011 – Hands-on Picture Lives!

Picture Lives
I’m getting more than a little tired of seeing games where you run around and shoot things. Unfortunately, E3 is packed to the gills with ‘em. But thank the maker, because there are at least a handful of games for the few attendees like myself who would rather explore colorful worlds than fill enemies with bullets.

One such title, Picture Lives!, is tucked away in Nintendo’s booth on a lone 3DS unit. The game is being overlooked by everyone… well, everyone except your pal Mister Raroo!

When I walked up to have a peek, the lady at the demo station seemed shocked that I wanted to play it. And I’m glad I did, because it is quite a quirky, charming little game!

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E3 2011 – Hands-on Otomedius Excellent

E3 2011 Otomedius Excellent
Otomedius Excellent has some issues, the least of which being that nobody will likely buy it when it is released next month. That’s a shame, because underneath its somewhat rough exterior lies a game that is just a heck of a lot of fun to play. There is a definite shortage of happy, colorful, silly shooters these days, and Otomedius does what it can to fill that void.

Do you remember Gradius (or, if you’re cool, Parodius)? Good! Otomedius is the newest member to that family of shooters. You take control of a spacecraft and fire away at waves of enemies and big bosses until you destroy them all. Oh, and the spacecraft is piloted by a scantily-clad anime girl.

I know, I know. You’d rather have Gradius VI. But Otomedius isn’t that bad, despite what you might have heard! Honest! Sure, it’s a bit mindless, but in a good way.

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E3 2011 – Hands-on Magical Drop V

Magical Drop V
If you’re the type of person who cries yourself to sleep every night because you miss Data East’s classic games, dry those tears! Out of nowhere, Magical Drop V has appeared at E3, and it is so bright and cute it almost hurts your eyes.

I have no clue how popular Magical Drop is with the kids these days, so I’ll go ahead and break down the gameplay quickly for you. Essentially, it’s a color-matching puzzle game that’s kind of similar to Puzzle Bobble or Puyo Puyo, but really Magical Drop is also its own beast.

There are bubbles of various colors on a playing field that periodically move downward. Your job is to pull bubbles in toward a little character you move back and forth at the bottom of the screen and fire them back toward bubbles of the same color. When enough bubbles are touching – pop! It sounds simple but it can get super hectic.

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E3 2011 – Eyes On Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City

Resident Evil Operation Raccoon City
Judging by the long line required to play Resident Evil: Operation Raccoon City (I’m going to call it ORC for short), people must really like it. Or maybe they think they’re going to like it before they play it. One person told me he waited two hours to have a turn. When I asked him how it was, he said, “It was pretty good, I guess.” Not quite a glowing endorsement!

And that’s kind of the vibe I got from watching it: It seems pretty good, but not great.

I didn’t want to wait in line to play, so I just took some time to do an extended “eyes on” with the title, watching a number of multiplayer matches. I’m not so hip on the types of games where you run around with guns and kill things, unless they’re totally crazy like Gungrave. Remember Gungrave? The words “Kick Their Ass!” displayed on the screen before every stage. That was awesome, even if the game wasn’t the greatest.

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E3 2011 – Hands-on PixelJunk SideScroller

Handson PixelJunk SideScroller
The PixelJunk Shooter games didn’t light my world on fire, to say the least. I thought they looked gorgeous and the concept was great, but I just didn’t find them to really be all that much fun. Getting through levels was more work than play, in my opinion.

But PixelJunk SideScroller? Ah, it might be love! I adore 2D shooters, and this is perhaps one of the best to come along in a quite awhile. If you grew up playing horizontal shooters, you know the drill. Pilot a craft left to right through horizontally scrolling stages and blast everything that moves. In many ways SideScroller feels like it was ripped right from the golden age of space shooters.

Even the game’s logo is clearly an homage to Gradius. Super cool.

And the retro love doesn’t end there. The game is designed to look as it were being displayed on an old CRT monitor, complete with washed out colors and scan lines. The screen also warps a little at the edges, which is a charming touch. The environments are a mix of vivid neon colors and minimalist vector graphics. It’s kind of like the lovechild of PixelJunk Shooter and Trajectile (Q Games’ cool rocket-firing puzzle game for DSiWare). The experience is only enhanced by the soundtrack, which is very akin to the spacey, beat-heavy tunes found in the Shooter games. It’s safe to say Q Games knocked another one out of the park in the audiovisual department and the end result is lovely.

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Review – Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle

Review Phantom Brave the Hermuda Triangle
Phantom Brave has been trying to get me to play it for years. I actually purchased a copy of the game for PS2 back when it was released in 2004, but for whatever reason I never got around to playing it. It sat on my shelf, sad and lonely, until it eventually was sold on eBay during a crazed period in which I auctioned off a number of my games to free up some cash. I always felt guilty about that. So guilty, in fact, that I planned to buy the game when it was released for the Wii in 2009. I even had a copy in my hands and walked to the register at Best Buy before I weighed my options and realized having gas money was more important than having Phantom Brave.   

So, here we are, almost seven years after the game was originally released, and I’ve finally given in and played it. Was it worth the long wait? Well, playing the game wasn’t an earth-shattering experience, but I still found it worthwhile, if a little overwhelming.

Phantom Brave: The Hermuda Triangle proves that sometimes giving players freedom isn’t always such a good thing, as the depth of the game and variety of options is almost too much to wrangle. At the same time, it’s a deep game and offers hours upon hours of gamplay, so strategy RPG fanatics will likely enjoy it.

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